Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boot Review by Steve Schmidt

7The Patagonia Foot Tractor takes wading to a whole new level of comfort and traction. Several years ago we; Western Rivers staff had an opportunity to test these boots out on our annual shop trip. After 4 days of pounding around in them we were impressed. The Foot Tractor right out of the shoot was noticeably an improvement over the Aluma-Bar boot. After using the Patagonia Aluminum Bar Boot for the past 3 seasons (which still have plenty of life left in them), I left them behind this fall as I headed to BC for my first steelhead trip of the year and some of the most challenging wading anyone will be confronted with.
Regardless of the new bar and sole design of the boot, which is grabbing everyone’s attention, this was the most comfortable 8heavy duty wading boot I’ve ever worn. The lacing system is ingenous, and I’m glad that they didn’t use the BOA system, which they initially intended to do. Their new system almost feels like the laces are being pulled through pulleys on the lower part of the boot. The top two hooks cleat the laces in place once you pull them in. These hold the laces firmly in place while you finish tying the boot, keeping the laces secure and tight all day long. The wide upper makes the Foot Tractor super easy to get out of, also at the end of a long day this boot is so comfortable you won’t be in a hurry to take them off.On the traction side I definitely prefer the new bottom and the way they’ve integrated the aluminum bar into the rubber sole. The new bar pattern is definitely better, especially when you’re scrambling around on the bank. For those who fish out of a boat, or have an occasion to, the new bar and sole design is really nice. I hardly noticed the bars in the dories we floated. Compared to the old boots, they we’re much less slippery in the boat, on dry rocks, and on steep grassy banks, which were issues they needed to address.

IMG_1713The new Patagonia Tractor Boot is a game changer just as the Aluminum Bar Wading Boot by Patagonia was. Although it feels heavy in the hand, I never noticed the weight after spending 10-12 hrs in them. For those having trouble getting around in the river, whether its the wading or you are simply looking to feel more grounded as you wade, this boot by far, will give you the security your looking for. Plus do so in a very comfortable fashion. My only regret is they aren’t offering these in just a sticky bottom version as well. Rumor has it that Patagonia is working on them.

We are freshly stocked up on Patagonia Foot Tractors, you can purchase from our website or give us a shout 801-521-6424


Winston Boron 3 LS Fly Rod Review

ImageFly rods and their impact on fly-fishing and the experience we’ve come to enjoy has morphed over the years and now more so than over the past decade. In the ever changing world of fast action fly rods R.L. Winston has stuck to its roots and developed a rod that bridges the gap between modern fly rod flexes and traditional technique. Enter the R.L. Winston BIII LS.

For a long time Winston has produced trout rods that have a full flexing profile, catering to the angler who revels in the cast, the presentation and the simplicity of a single dry fly. As our sport has grown, fly-fishing with a single dry fly has slowly been pushed aside in response to the various creative ways anglers have engineered to catch fish with a fly rod. Click here to read the full Winston LS review

Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Fly Line Review

ImageAt Western Rivers we’re picky about our fly rods and the fly lines we choose to get the most from a fly rods performance. When we tested the new Sharkwave flyline we approached it with some skepticism as we do with all new products before we get to test them, but after now casting and fishing this new textured fly line we believe this new fly line from Scientific Anglers to be an improvement in performance over  their original Sharkskin fly lines. When we can’t get out to fly-fish on one of our local waters we often find ourselves practicing our fly-casting at a local park.  It is very relaxing, improves our success, but it also allows us to try out new fly-lines as they come out. Click here to continue reading the rest of the review…

Sage Aluminum Travel Rod Tube Review

ImageFly-fishing rod tubes have been around for a long time. Looking back, Sage has offered a variety of cases and rod tubes over the years. Until recently most rod tubes, including theirs are constructed of Cordura, are round and are structurally supported by a PVC lining. Like their great line of fly rods, Sage now offers what I think is the best bomber rod tubes available. Instead of finding a Cordura and PVC tube their new rod tubes are constructed of brushed aluminum and are rectangular in shape rather than round. The year they were introduced I thought they were one of the best new products at the annual Fly-Tackle Retailer show. Now after purchasing one and having trekked it across continent’s I know for a fact that for traveling and protecting your precious fly rods, these rod tubes have no superiors. To read the full reivew click here…

Simms Headwaters Guide Hip Pack Review


In today’s fly fishing world there seems to be a million choices in hip and waist packs. After recently returning from a steelhead trip, hear what one of our guides have to say about the newly updated Simms guide pack.

“We all have our preferences on our favorite fly fishing pack system. Whether it’s a sling pack, backpack/vest combo, hip pack or chest pack we can all agree that a well designed piece is more comfortable while still making simple tasks on the water much quicker, easier and less of a headache. The 2014 Simms Headwaters Guide Hip Pack is one of our new favorite outfits for the angler who likes to come prepared for anything.” Click here to read the full review…

Fly Rods for Beginners

ImageFly rods regardless of their price have improved considerably over the past decade.  If you are new to fly-fishing or are in the market for a decent fly rod that won’t break the bank, those who fly-fish or are just getting started have great options.  Today’s entry level fly rods are affordable and offer performance regardless of your abilities.  Something else, many of these fly rods are still being made in the good old USA.  We support that, given what goes into these rods you should as well!

Redington fly rod outfits for kids and those just getting introduced to fly-fishing that have a budget will find Redingtons’s offerings tough to beat.  This is the only fly rod brand that we carry that is not made in the USA. At this price point you’re simply not going to find a fly rod or fly rod and reel combination that is made in this country. Although Redington offers a wide variety of fly rod options in their line we feel that the Crosswater and Pursuit Outfits are in a league by themselves when it comes to entry level fly-fishing rods and packages.  Of the wide variety of fly rods we’ve cast at this price point we feel that the Reddington Crosswater and Pursuit fly rods perform the best and are of good value.  Crosswater Outfits range from $119.95-$139.95.  Pursuit fly rod and reel combos are $159.95-$179.95.

If you’ve got a little more money to spend on your first fly rod and want to step up a notch, Imperial fly rods from St. Croix are well worth the extra money.  This USA made fly rod is medium fast in action, although they claim them to be fast.   They are light, are built in a wide variety of sizes and especially for the waters we have here in Utah are an excellent choice for your first fly rod given their very reasonable price: $190-$240.00 depending on if you are in the market for a 2 or 4pc rod. 

Sage Fly Rod Company has totally redone their entry level series of fly rods, introducing for 2013 the new Approach and Response series of 4pc fly rods.  These fly rods offer a wide variety of options not only in price, but in performance, look and feel.

The all water Approach series of fly rods are not that much more than the 4pc St. Croix rods,  $295.00, but in performance and finish you’ll notice a difference.   Although Sage regards this as an entry level fly rod compared to the options we have had in the past these fly rods are impressive sticks.  Their high modulus graphite equates to a rod that is quick, powerful and noticeably more sensitive in your hand. 

The all water Response fly rod by Sage is a fly rod that was designed for the flyfisher who understands that performance is paramount when it comes to the role a fly rod plays in enjoyment and success on the water, yet can’t quite justify investing in a premium fly rod.  The Response series of fly rods proven tapers and premium materials are easily felt when you put this quick and light fly rod in your hand.  At $395.00 they are about half the price of a premium fly rod and a value given the craftsmanship and performance this Sage fly rod offers.

Another excellent option that fits into this category of premium performance fly rods without the premium price tag is Scott Fly Rod Companies  A4 series of fly rods.  These beautifully built fly rods are handcrafted in Montrose, Colorado.  Once you put one in your hand you’ll feel their action are quick, but with a nice smooth flex in their tip.  The Scott A4’s naturally finished blanks are a trade mark of Scott Fly Rods.  The A4 is light in the hand and Scott’s attention to detail is as good as anyone’s.  This 4pc series of fly rods retails for $395.00. 

For those who are looking to try saltwater fly-fishing for the first time or are headed out to swing flies for steelhead both the Scott A4 and Sage Pursuit fly rods would be excellent options.  Sage and Scott rod companies make these rods from 8-12wt and are offered in 9’-10’ lengths.  These larger 4pc rods have fighting butts and larger guides to accommodate the demands that fly-fishing in saltwater and steelhead require.   

The key to getting a good rod regardless of their price is to cast a fly rod.  There are many rod reviews out there, but they don’t take into consideration your abilities or the waters you fish.  That’s where we come in.  If you have the opportunity to visit Western Rivers Flyfisher and work with our experienced staff to see which one best suits what you’re in the market for, that is ideal.  However, we recognize that not everyone who purchased their fly rods from us can drop in and cast a rod before purchasing it.  So, give us a call.   We’ll take all the time you need to help you get just the right rod.  After 25 years of this, you’ll find we’re better than most.  If for some reason you aren’t happy with your purchase, you’re welcome to send it back.  See our purchase guarantee here for more details.

Sweetgrass Bamboo Fly Rods

There are few belongings in fly-fishing equipment that capture the essence of fly-fishing more than a bamboo fly rod. Even given today’s incredible graphite fly rods they still fall short in matching the essence and beauty of a well crafted bamboo fly rod.
Glen Brackett has been a long time acquaintance of Western Rivers Flyfisher.  It started almost two decades ago when we began carrying RL Winston fly rods. At that time he and his Boo Boys worked for this Montana fly rod company.  Since then they’ve branched out on their own to form Sweetgrass Rods, which we are now proud to carry as part of our fly rod mix in the fly shop.
To read the rest of this article and see our video on Sweetgrass rods click here….